dear scrivener: i've come back. never leave me again.

Posted on Posted in journal, writing life

Over the weekend, I moved the current draft of the faerie novel back into Scrivener.

I loved Scrivener almost from the moment I first purchased it. The corkboard feature alone pretty much sells it for me, especially with my preference for writing without an outline, stopping half-way through in a panic because none of it makes sense, rearranging scenes in a whole new pattern that makes only slightly more sense than before, forging ahead again, retreating, wandering off sideways, pausing for some world history, and so on. But about a year ago, I had to give up using it because I needed to be able to work on my manuscript anywhere, including cross-platform. I knew Scrivener for Windows was in the pipeline, but I also needed to work on computers on which I had no administration rights, and I couldn't rely on SfW releasing a portable version. So back into MS Word I trudged.1

But last week I discovered that the current version of Scrivener syncs with simplenote, or with an external folder.

I have to admit, my first inclination was to shout at the whole internet: WHICH OF YOU KNEW ABOUT THIS, AND WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME?

My second was to embark on an attempt to convert the pterosaur to the wonders of this software, even though he will have no earthly use for it in all his days. (He was very patient, and ooh'ed and aah'ed over the prettiness of the corkboard. I think mainly because he could see that was the best way to placate me and therefore escape.)

The worst thing is, I have the sneaking suspicion that this current version was released about a week or so after I moved back to Word. All this last year, labouring in Word, without a corkboard, when I didn't need to!

That'll teach me to read the release notes.2

  1. Actually, I don't hate MS Word. I kind of like it, if I'm going to be honest. But it does like to get in your way a little bit, and every install requires me to ruthlessly and rigorously train it out of autocorrecting and autosuggesting and generally being a nuisance. But I do hate outlining in it. Hate, loathe, stab it with a fork. []
  2. In my defence, they always pop up at me when I'm trying to do something else. []

6 thoughts on “dear scrivener: i've come back. never leave me again.

  1. I like outlining in Word (it's not hard to shift scenes around – you just use the up-down arrows) and I found Scrivener "too hard" because you have to upload your work chapter by chapter and it is dealt with piecemeal. But if they bring out a version that can divide a work into chapters by using my pre-set styles in Word I'll be in like Flynn, because the corkboard etc would be really useful.

    1. Ah, yes, that piecemeal-ness took me a little to get used to, I must admit. I still don't entirely like it all the time. Especially since I don't tend to write or think in scenes — so I'll often find I've written past the scene ending, sometimes past three of them. So easy to split it out or merge it into another scene, though.

      It also has a group or compilation feature (I can't remember what it's called offhand) which displays all the scenes in one long document, and it helps when I need to see the text as a whole. Once I got used to working in scenes/chapters, I found the ability to drill up and down fantastic. I know you can do it in Word, too, but not as … clutter-less-ly. I like that when I drill outwards to the index card, I don't have to click anything to get the body text out of sight.

      The corkboard is definitely awesome. Specially being able to colour-code by POV. So easy to see the balance and shape of the work.

  2. Yes, that colour-coding thing must be great – I do that in Word, too, but it's a hassle if I rewrite a scene in a different POV, forex. I guess saving my books chapter by chapter or scene by scene probably would't take much more time than setting up custom styles (and persuading Word to remember them!) does. I might invest, after all! 😉

    1. Ha! Exactly – I found that I would spend an inordinate amount of time setting up custom styles in Word, so that I could make it both look right, print right, make my life easier if I wanted a quick estimate of today's word-count, &c. I didn't actually realise how much until I didn't have to do it any more. (Love the session and project target feature of Scrivener. Love!)

      (Although I'm a software junkie, and I learn best by screwing around with templates. So first thing I did on Scrivener was screw around with the novel templates, right deep down into the innards, to be sure I understand exactly what each option did. That … took a lot of time. A lot. I have a little problem with letting go…)

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